Be Crazy! has established itself as one of Ibiza’s most famous club nights. Now in its 7th season Be Crazy! attracts a beautiful cosmopolitan crowd to party to a soundtrack that reflects the cutting edge underground style of the island. Be Crazy! owner, promoter and resident DJ Jean Claude Ades made Ibiza his home base in 2012, since then he really began to leave his mark on the magical Mediterranean party island. The birth of his Be Crazy! party has propelled Ades into the top tier of movers and shakers as it was all done through realising a vision of musical excellence few can match. He has now firmly ensconced every Friday at HEART Ibiza, with his first season at the venue about to draw to an end I caught up with Jean to discuss his party in more detail and to get a closer look behind the venue which has been the talking point of the island for the past few years.
We started with a short recap of the Be Crazy! brand to learn how their first season at HEART has been. Jean filled me in explaining “I actually just had a meeting with HEART, so we could have a reset and see how we thought the summer went. We are all very happy with this first year. We had really strong nights and we didn’t expect it to be like that for the first year. Every artist that played really enjoyed being part of it. We had great feedback from all the artists that came to perform and the crowd. Across the island people have been talking about it, so we feel there has been a focus on us as one of the most happening Ibiza nights.” He went on to explain what he thought was an element of success this season putting it down to some of the guest DJs saying “We have been doing the parties for many years but we changed the venue and the day. It is still something new for the people, as they have only experienced us at Lio for the last six years. Everyone that follows us was really happy about changing the location because it is so much more accessible. It’s bigger and has a stronger dancefloor with much more energy. It goes longer and later, it’s so free on the music, you get to play more openly and take things to the next level. I could really tell a lot of people came for certain guest DJs that I had hired. We had a lot of fresh young blood coming to the party with new DJs. I could even feel it when we were posting something online saying “okay this DJ is coming this week” we had people following and saying “oh I love his productions.” Even with new DJs I can see people are following. With HEART in general, it is a sophisticated music venue that brings new and fresh talents.”
It’s refreshing that people are going for the music and art of the guests being booked and not for the notoriety and production at the venue as with some of the larger clubs on he island. I’m sure many promoters have aspirations and dreams of having their own successful parties running in Ibiza but I was keen to hear what were some of the challenges Jean may have faced, especially with changing venue. He answered:
“To be honest, I didn’t look too much left and right. I try to focus on my own thing. The team at HEART is fantastic and also our team is great. From the beginning when I signed to go to Heart, I was completely comfortable. I was very confident that everything was going to work and from day one we really nailed it. There wasn’t big issues or challenging moments. The only small challenge was creating the atmosphere with the lighting and visuals. We spent a little bit of time changing this around, we fixed it very quickly in about three to four weeks. With this everything became tighter. I was very happy with the line-up that was put together. With only a few more days to go until the closing, overall it has been a great year. When you move to a different venue it is a different feeling and year by year you want to make it completely perfect. It’s like Feng Shui, as every room is different. You need time to experience the night and try to make little tweaks here and there, to make the night perfect. The most important thing is, I’m actually 100% comfortable. I feel very secure about things and it works well. I have a few ideas for next year with what I’m going to do, in terms bringing more stunning visuals and decoration for the venue. I want to make everything even more perfect.”
Heart as a venue is heavily focused around the arts, music and food. It’s been described as an adult playground to which Jean told me a little more from his own experience “Yeah well. It is very accessible, it doesn’t have a dress code. The clubbers just want to come and dance and enjoy the night. It is a very open minded and adult crowd. I’m not 25 years old anymore, so I also want to hang out with a more adult crowd, that has a more sophisticated taste in music. Therefore, I think HEART is a great venue for my night. I definitely see myself staying there for the next couple of years, if everything works well. I’m very happy with this step.” He further added “HEART is one of the most credible venues on the island at the moment and it has the perfect size. I’m not looking to put my brand in a venue that has a capacity of five thousand people. I think with that you have to become more mainstream with the sound; that’s something I want to avoid. HEART has an extraordinary music philosophy. I love the look of the venue and the vibe with the sound system, the lighting and visuals.”
For anybody who doesn’t know HEART is an interesting partnership between Cirque du Soleil and the Adrià brothers. I asked Jean in his opinion as a collective what do they all bring to the table which makes it such a success? He explained “First of all, I can feel that it’s not a venue that’s money orientated. The philosophy is a lot more about giving than taking. Over the years clubs in Ibiza have been squeezing out the clients. It has become very VIP money orientated and every club is pushing higher end for the tables. I can feel an anti-movement at HEART. It doesn’t matter if you have a table or not, you can have a great time. You don’t feel like you’re pushed out. At other parties over the summer, I see the dancefloor is mainly men as the pretty girls are pulled to the tables, or the backstage area by the DJ booth. At HEART you don’t have this, it’s not so divided. The philosophy is come and enjoy the night, spend whatever you want to spend, experience the night and have fun. They give the people amazing music and amazing food. It’s incredible what they do. They do it for the love of the music and art, the whole team works this way. Everyone who works at the club, enjoys being there and the whole feeling is completely different to other clubs in Ibiza.”
Next Jean explained to me how he managed to secure the venue for this year. “We had been in touch with them for the last two years as they were interested to have the brand there. I had decided to wait for the right moment and the right day. I think Friday is a great day to do it. There had been options for other days in previous years, but I thought everything must come at the right place in the right moment. I didn’t want to rush to make a move. I waited to see how things would go and how HEART developed, as they had a little bit of a kick off four years ago and it was great. Then they were struggling a little, but I could feel sooner or later it was going to develop into one of the best venues on the island; because of their philosophy. Set by step, we had a couple of meetings, I felt very secure, I had a great chemistry with them. After they offered us the Friday, I said OK now it’s time to make a move. So that’s how we ended up in HEART this year.”
I could tell that HEART will now be the new home for many more seasons to come and Jean confirmed he thinks it’s a good long-term home and project. It’s based around a long-standing relationship, He is very convinced it’s going to be great for the next two or three years and he feels like he’s found the perfect venue for his night. The crowd and vibe of the Be Crazy! party is much more grown up and music savvy for Ibiza. I wondered if this was the product of 7 years in the making or has it always been the same? Jean spoke about the crowd in more detail saying:
“Erm, Yeh. It’s definitely a beautiful crowd, we have some ravers on the dancefloor because they come for the music. It is a good balance, it’s not like it’s just a fancy beautiful crowd. From hipsters to VIP models, everything is mixed and this is what we were always looking for. The perfect night should be a mix of all genres of people. I see a lot of the regular crowds from the cool clubs on the island, coming to our party. It is a cleaner crowd, there is no dark side, they have a happy vibe and it’s not so drug intense. It’s hard to describe but it’s definitely a more grown up crowd, aged 25-40. The dancefloor can change from night to night, depending on what kind of line up I have. It’s not always the same dancefloor but I’m talking about the regular clientele – our followers. It is a crowd that knows each other, it’s a meeting point for people. They know for sure they can go by themselves and they’ll meet people they know there. That’s the good thing about it.”
Just from a glimpse of the seasons line-ups the bookings confirm exactly that ethos with the likes of Sébastien Léger, Oxia, Audiofly etc. When curating and programming artists to play at Be Crazy! Jean explained “I’m deeply into music. I listen to a lot of different tracks every week, seeing what comes up and who’s interesting. Mostly I’m following artists who bring new flavours to the table. New artists who surprise me with their sound, releasing records that are really stepping outside of the box. I follow these people and then I try them out. Sometimes they are really amazing producers but not as good as DJs. The perfect situation is to have amazing DJs who also do amazing productions. Year by year, I have a core line-up who I bring back and then I bring some new ones on top. Every year there are so many new artists popping up, so that’s the part that’s very exciting.” And leading on he told me about his favourite Be Crazy! party so far this season. “The opening was very exciting because it was the opening. It was really busy because everyone came to see the move to HEART. It was a special night and exciting because it was the kick off. I was quite nervous in a positive way. I had a great night when we had WhoMadeWho do a DJ set. We loved them, these guys brought such a great energy on the dancefloor and it was amazing music; the whole thing was magical. I had another night that was great as well with Groj; a Canadian DJ and producer who does really amazing stuff. I brought him with Guy J at the end of July. When we had Superflu in the middle of August, I think this was the strongest night in terms of crowd. I don’t know if this was because of Superflu, but sometimes things just come together, and it becomes a really big night. I don’t think it was necessarily because of the line-up, but I remember it was the peak night of our season; with a beautiful crowd and a packed club. The music was perfect, and everything went smoothly from beginning to end.”
Ibiza is one of the most competitive places on the earth when it comes to clubbing and promotion. With this is mind I called upon his working experience on the island and asked for his advice he would pass on to anybody thinking about heading over for the season to establish their brand. What should they consider, for example work permits, how to approach venues for PR work, promotion laws on the island etc.?
“I think you need to bring a lot of patience and be a warrior to make it here. It’s not just choosing your venue and bringing a line-up. I have seen a lot of people over the years, giving up after one or two seasons because they’re losing money. You need to know how the island works. I think the most important thing to do before starting a night, is to come to the island and spend a few seasons here first. Find out who are the key people and the key promoters; create the synergies before you jump into the ice-cold water. It’s very important to know the structure of the island; what’s going on behind the scenes, who are the right people to be involved in your party in terms of promoters. You also need to know what the crowd wants. You need to know what you want out of your party too. Do you want to go mainstream, do you want to have a small venue with a more quality crowd or a young crowd? There is so much to consider. However, the most important thing is to know the scene, before you come from nothing to do a night here.”
So, it was then time to put some focus to Jean Claude Ades. Does he get much time in the studio over the Ibiza season? Are there any new releases on the horizon? Actually there isn’t due to touring a lot. He released his last EP last summer which went really well. This winter he told me he didn’t really have time, so for the first time in a long time he hasn’t released anything in the summer. After he got the confirmation from HEART around March or April, exactly around the time when he would be taking off to the studio to finalise everything. He used the three months he would usually use for productions and dedicated it to HEART. “We needed a bigger line up than we had in previous years. It was very intense, we didn’t have much time, so unfortunately I didn’t finish anything this summer” he explained “I do have a record that is being released. It’s a remix of one of the records I released last summer called ‘Ordinary Day’. This has been remixed by a guy called Tone Depth, who has been signed to HOSH’s new label, fryhide.
He loved the track and did a really stunning remix. It’s going to be released in October on fryhide. I think it’s going to be a very strong release and hopefully chart very high. Everyone has been going crazy for this track. So, I finally have a release even if it is after the summer. I have taken November completely off to go back into the studio. Winter is the time where I have the chance to work in peace. In summer I have my residency and Sundays, I host Sundays at Scorpios in Mykonos, so I’ve been going back and forth there since the beginning of May. It’s very intense travelling, especially when you host a night; it’s not just about playing your set and going home. You must host your people and your crowd, so there is no time to go to the studio with a free mind. I create in the winter and release in the summer. In the summer I can take care of my own party. It’s a great balance. I soak up all the inspiration from the summer and put it into my ideas. When I go back into the studio everything flows, as my mind is already so full of ideas. I always have a clear image of where I want to go musically after playing all summer; seeing the reactions from the crowd to certain tracks. I get an intense feeling of what to create and release because I feel very close to the audience.”
As you can tell it’s a very hard Work life with a tremendous amount of planning time, travelling and staying ahead of the game at every opportunity. Before we bring the interview to a close I asked Jean what he likes doing to relax on the island during his down time and are there any spots or beaches he recommends? “As I am always travelling, I’m sleeping in hotel rooms three nights per week. When I come back home, the most relaxing thing is to be at home, sleeping in my own bed, cooking in my own kitchen instead of going to restaurants all of the time. I try to go to the gym as much as I can. I go to the Ibiza Grande Hotel, they have an amazing spa and I have a membership there, so I try to go as much as possible. To be honest, I only make it to the beach once per month – so I’m getting pale! When I do make it I do really enjoy it but I think that is because I don’t go so much. When you live on the island everyone has the same problem; you have the beach right in front of your eyes but you never go, you’re spoilt! Every morning, when I wake up I can see the sea from my place.
I like to go to the pool at the Ibiza Grande Hotel and every once in while I would do lunch or dinner outside. However, I prefer to enjoy my house as I don’t get much time to actually spend here. I love to go to El Chiringuito D Es Cavallet. This is owned by a friend of mine, it is a very nice beach club that has amazing food. This one of the places I go to often. There is also a beach restaurant called Es Torrent, this has the best fish on the island. There is also a fish shack on Talamanca Beach which is very low key and traditional. It is very simple, they don’t serve too many dishes, but it has a stunning location on a rock. Before my night I like to Cipriani because it is right next door to Heart. We keep it as a meeting point before the night, we go for dinner and then move on to HEART.”
Jean Claude Ades brings the 2018 season at HEART Ibiza to a close supported by fryhide founder HOSH and Lehar of Diynamic Music on Friday 5th October.